Is it Important for Your Kids to Believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa and Fairy Friends?

Is it Important for Your Kids to Believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa and Fairy Friends

The Easter after my daughter’s second birthday, I mindlessly followed all of the same rituals as my parents and grandparents. We made sugar cookies, sent cards, and of course decorated eggs. Shortly after returning from Church on Easter morning, we took her on an egg hunt in the backyard. After collecting the eggs and locating a strategically placed basket full of treats she looked up and asked me who had hidden all of the eggs. I looked into her big blue eyes and did as all of my ancestors have done: I lied. I told her the Easter bunny was responsible for the basket and eggs. Without batting an eye, she patted me on the bottom and said, “Thank you Easter bunny”.

This is where I broke from tradition. I realized that I could not remember a time when I believed in the Easter bunny, Santa or fairies. However, I clearly remember all the work my parents went to to convince me, against my better judgement, that Santa and company were real. I decided that I would not try to convince Patricia that her perception of the situation was wrong. Instead I gave her a kiss and told her she was welcome and continued with the festivities.

In early December of that same year, Patricia came up and asked, “Who is Santa?” I responded with a mom’s secret weapon. I answered her question with a question: “Who do you think Santa is?”

“Well, I think that it is probably Daddy since you are the Easter Bunny”. Then she added, “But I think Mrs. Clause does all the work”. I did not argue with her reasoning or her obvious discernment of the situation! The interesting thing to me was that Patricia did not seem at all disappointed with her conclusion. It had been drilled into me that children were supposed to believe in the Easter bunny and Santa, but her knowledge did not seem to minimize the holiday fun for her at all.

A month before Patricia lost her first tooth, my step-mom sent a tooth fairy box. It turned out to be a fortuitous gift. Losing a tooth was a very traumatic experience for Patricia. She cried excessively. Everyone tried to comfort her including her younger brother. Finally through all the tears she explained, “I’m not crying because it hurts. I’m crying because…because…because…I don’t want to grow up and losing teeth means I’m growing up”. My son threw his arms around her and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll always love you, even when you are a grown up”.

I was thankful for my son because I had no idea how to respond. I couldn’t wait to grow up. Unsure what else to do, I fell back on the tooth fairy. I found the box and explained how the system worked. This had the desired effect! She said, “You mean all I have to do is put my tooth under my pillow and when I wake up there will be quarters in its place? Cool! Can I go show my friends my tooth?”

Patricia didn’t ask who the tooth fairy was and I wondered if she knew. A couple weeks later, my husband was on a business trip and he called and thanked me for the pictures I put in his suitcase. I told him that I didn’t put them there and called Patricia to the phone. My husband asked her who put the cute pictures in his suitcase and Patricia replied, “I don’t know, maybe it was the picture fairy”.

Just as we used the tooth fairy to make Patricia feel better about losing her tooth, she used the picture fairy to make my husband feel better about having to be away from home. As young as she was, Patricia understood the concept more fully than I ever could have imagined. I don’t think that the magic of the holidays is in any way diminished by allowing children to be active participants. They derive as much joy from playing the Easter bunny, Santa, and fairy as we do. In fact, we have found that encouraging our children to volunteer during the holidays and play Santa or bunny to children in need or the elderly is a sure guarantee to increase their enjoyment of the holidays.



  1. says

    I have never understood the point of Santa Clause. The story of St Nicholas is a beautiful tale of giving. Santa, an image created by Coca Cola (look it up) is about encouraging kids to ask for things without giving in return. Greedy Claws is a more fitting title for this tradition of having children make a list of wants while their parents scramble around to buy them.

    • says

      I am in the process of writing about how we now celebrate Easter and Christmas – it has changed a lot since my daughter was 2! (she is now 21). Santa has never given our kids gifts and our children have never made a list for Santa. Santa only filled our kids stockings and we always read a short biography so our kids new the origins. But many years ago, we started celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6th and that is the day their stockings are filled. We have also always limited our gifts to our children to three gifts, figuring if 3 gifts was good enough for Jesus, it was plenty for them. More later, I don’t want to write my whole post here. :)

      • says

        Celebrating St Nick’s is an interesting compromise. Our kids -nearly 2 and 4- know Santa as an actor in the mall, like how they put on Teletubbies costumes for Hallowe’en. Veggie Tales has an excellent DVD explaining St Nick and relating the story to a mall Santa.

        We do not encounter so many cultural references for the Easter Bunny, so have not had to explain the funny costume. It will be a few years before the Tooth Fairy comes up.

  2. says

    I so enjoyed reading this post. Your daughter was a very perceptive little girl (and I’m sure she is a very perceptive young woman as well!!). I felt a huge amount of pressure to keep my son believing in these lovely legends for as long as possible, and if I had read this post several years ago it would have saved a lot of angst! I think it is lovely that Patricia used her ‘insider knowledge’ as a way to be kind to others (as the picture fairy for instance). I’m so glad you shared this – not only with a lot of folks identify with it, but it contains some wonderful helpful advice!

  3. says

    I’m not sure what we told my son last year (when he was 2) but this year he was with us when we bought the plastic eggs and pulled them out of the bag and was playing with them before Easter… Then we told him that there were eggs filled hidden in the yard and let him find them. I never mentioned the Easter Bunny this year… I’m not really into telling my children about the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I just don’t see the reason in lying to my child when I’m trying to teach him that lying is not okay.
    I love how you handled the Santa question. I’m going to have to remember that one!

  4. says

    LOVE IT! I’ve been criticized by some family members for not teaching my children to believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny. They believed when they were really young, but when they started asking questions I was careful to speak the truth. More than believing in make believe I wanted my kids to be able to trust me. They’re still only 10, 8, and 4- so I can’t say yet that it’s worked. It’s such an encouragement for me to hear from your experience!

  5. says

    Great post. I liked your daughter’s conclusion that Mrs. Clause did all the work! I liked how you handled the situation. The picture fairy part was so sweet.

  6. says

    I never have told my children there was a santa or any of the other make believe characters.I never planned to even before I had children.When I was in 2nd grade and found out my mom had lied to me I just could not believe she would ever do such a thing.I remember feeling betreyed and humiliated.I vowed then I would never do that to my kids.Although the rest of the world tries to convince them Im the one that is lying but telling the truth.Id much rather my kids know where there gifts come from anyway.The ones that love them most,their parents!I just feel if you want your kids to trust you and be honest as well then dont begin lying to them from birth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>